Can YouTube for Schools Usher Education Into the 21st Century

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, December 15, 2011

Google has launched a YouTube for Schools service to make educationally relevant videos available for use in school. It's a great idea, but for it to actually be used in schools, many districts around the country will have to modify their filters to allow teachers to access at least this portion of YouTube.

Most schools have some type of filters in place designed to block pornography and other inappropriate material, and it's common for these filters to also block social media, including all of Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. Schools that accept federal E-rate funding are required to block materials that are obscene, depict child pornography or are harmful to minors -- but there is nothing in the federal rules that require schools to block social media.

It's a good thing schools don't treat books and sports the way most treat social media.

There have always been books that are inappropriate for a school setting. But rather than ban all books, schools allow the ones that support their curricula and encourage children to explore literature in general. When it comes to sports, schools recognize that there are dangers -- every year, lots of children are injured and some die from sports related injuries. But rather than ban sports, schools embrace them and make sure that kids have good coaches, safety equipment and rules to ensure fair play.

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